As the clock slipped to 3:30 p.m. this past Friday, my soul exhaled a sigh of relief. Finally, it is Spring Break! My kids and I are out of school and work this week and I really hope that we can create some margin in our schedule to slow down from the busyness of life. My problem, however, is that I'm already filling this week with things to do other than school and work. Do you ever find yourself doing this too?
So far, our week is filled with some fun activities like going to the movies, eating breakfast for dinner, and travelling to the beach for a couple of days. But, then I have another mile-long list of items I hope to complete: book launch details, switching out our clothes to a spring wardrobe, and taking a rug to get cleaned. We want to have play dates with friends and go shopping. There are soccer games and baby showers scheduled this week too. So, while I desperately want this week to be a time to relax and rejuvenate, if I'm not careful, it is going to be just as busy, if not more busy, than a typical week of work and school.
How do we schedule time to actually enjoy the breaks that we have from our typical weeks?
I'm not going to pretend to have the answer to this question because quite honestly it is a struggle of mine. I'm sure you are like me, always running after all-the-things to do and feeling so worn and weary at the end of the day. How often do you tell your spouse or friend, "I'm so tired!?" Statistics show that women need more sleep than men because our brains require time to recover from all the multi-tasking that we do throughout the day. Women are so busy juggling careers and children, sports, school, and social activities, that we run ourselves ragged by the end of the week. When we actually get time off, we don't know how to take time off.
In a chapter called "Tea Party" in my new book Invited, I share Emily Post's rule of four S's (sincerity, simplicity, sympathy, and serenity) and how to apply these four S's not only to parties but to our daily lives. To enjoy the breaks we are given, we often feel more serene. Here's what I share about serenity:
I find that the best way for me to enjoy my breaks is to take time to practice serenity. In our small group, we are studying Adam Hamilton's The Way and in it he writes about how often Jesus had to be alone with God. Jesus would often retreat to the mountains or to water, away from the crowds, so he could find solace and comfort from God. A favorite scripture passage that many of us can easily quote is "Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28) but how often do we take time to actually be still before the Lord?
(My family recently took a trip to Stone Mountain in Atlanta, Georgia. It was the best little retreat for us!)
If you are on Spring Break this week or not, we can make time in our schedules to rest from our daily activities. Let's go to bed on time so we can get a restful night's sleep. Instead of indulging in junk food all week, let's have a couple of special meals but plan on cooking some fresh vegetables or drinking a fruit smoothie. If we have time in the car alone, we can turn on some praise music, listen to an inspirational podcast, or pray out loud to God. Perhaps we do get time to stand at the ocean's edge and watch the sun dip below the horizon at the end of the day or we find ourselves on a trail in the woods listening to the churning of a nearby creek and the birds chirping in the trees. Might we make these things our goals for each day?
I truly believe that when I have rested in God, I find myself more productive and a more enjoyable person. My family and friends benefit from the retreats I have with God and I feel better about myself. If you and I are willing to put into practice Matthew 11:28, we will truly experience serenity in our hearts, minds, and souls. The results from resting in God far outweigh the temptations of hustle and hurry.
Begin this week by breathing in the word of God. Find yourself spending time with Him, for a minute or an hour. As his strength gives you power to tackle the week, don't forget to retreat back to Him and thank Him for the work He is doing in your life. Take a break, friend, and reap the benefits of spending time with God.